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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have to admit: for a very long time, I've generally found most vocal music somewhat dull. I expressed that sentiment from the start of my love of classical music, as a kid. Why exactly, I can't say.

But recently, I've been dipping my toes into the immense depths of that genre. And I've found myself most attracted (so far) to sacred or sacral-based music. The only problem is I'm a bit lost as to what would be a good piece for a newbie like myself, to start with as a first. First piece here, as in a first to listen through completely. I've so far only been sampling bits here and there.

If I sound a bit naïve here, I'm sorry about that. I guess it's what happens when you ignore something as expansive as this for so long.
 

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This is one of Haydn's masses, or the Verdi Requiem. Not to forget Bach Masses.
 

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Many pieces like large scale oratorios are a bit long and can try ones patience if one is not used to them. So I'd try shorter pieces around 30-40 mins.

Bach: Magnificat, also try some of the famous cantatas like BWV 80 (A mighty fortress/Ein feste Burg...) or 140 (Sleepers, awake!/Wachet auf...) that have the eponymous chorale tune as "frame" and a good mix of choral and solo movements.

Handel: Dixit dominus, Utrecht Te Deum, Chandos anthems

Pergolesi: Stabat mater

Mozart: "coronation mass" K 317, Mass in c minor (a bit longer but you can split it up in parts)

Haydn: Nelson mass (in angustiis) and Mass in time of war (in tempore belli)
 

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For me the best sacred music is Early Music, from Gregorian Chant up to Palestrina.

One vocal ensemble which brings a unique aesthetic to the music is Graindelavoix led by Björn Schmelzer, almost any of their recordings would do for a recommendation, but my favorite is their performance of the Machaut Messe de Nostre Dame.


You will notice, this is not calm, pretty, music, but has some edge, grit, and heft. Spirituality is not for the timid.
 

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For me the best sacred music is Early Music, from Gregorian Chant up to Palestrina.

One vocal ensemble which brings a unique aesthetic to the music is Graindelavoix led by Björn Schmelzer, almost any of their recordings would do for a recommendation, but my favorite is their performance of the Machaut Messe de Nostre Dame.


You will notice, this is not calm, pretty, music, but has some edge, grit, and heft. Spirituality is not for the timid.
Found this in HD on one of my steaming services, I placed it in my queue.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As a fan of sacred music, I agree with all the suggestions.

One thing I appreciate about mass settings is, the text doesn't change, so once I learn that text, I don't have to bury my head in a libretto trying to figure out what they're singing about. And that opens the door to a ton of great sacred music.
Quite, and it's fairly easy to memorize also. Least in the basic setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For me the best sacred music is Early Music, from Gregorian Chant up to Palestrina.

One vocal ensemble which brings a unique aesthetic to the music is Graindelavoix led by Björn Schmelzer, almost any of their recordings would do for a recommendation, but my favorite is their performance of the Machaut Messe de Nostre Dame.


You will notice, this is not calm, pretty, music, but has some edge, grit, and heft. Spirituality is not for the timid.
I understand that. Actually, reminds me of a discussion I had on this, with a friend not too long ago. He suspected part of the reason for my avoidance, was just for that: a fear of the spiritual aspect of it.

While plausible, considering it did partially arise when I was still an atheist, I find it isn't the whole story. I suspect the answer lies more in my past stubbornness to anything that wasn't instrumentally "perfect." Which in essence equaled in having as much a taste in the music, as the pop-culture stereotype of classical music occasionally suggests. Very basic, very inane, simplistic, &c, &c. It's not a surprise that my recent interests, comes after having let go of that stubbornness.
 

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I have to admit: for a very long time, I've generally found most vocal music somewhat dull. I expressed that sentiment from the start of my love of classical music, as a kid. Why exactly, I can't say.

But recently, I've been dipping my toes into the immense depths of that genre. And I've found myself most attracted (so far) to sacred or sacral-based music. The only problem is I'm a bit lost as to what would be a good piece for a newbie like myself, to start with as a first. First piece here, as in a first to listen through completely. I've so far only been sampling bits here and there.

If I sound a bit naïve here, I'm sorry about that. I guess it's what happens when you ignore something as expansive as this for so long.
It would also depend on what you usually like to hear ... not being religious myself, I tend to enjoy mainly the musical content, and to sympathize with religious works at least as dealing with general and existential problems ...
 

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Handel's Messiah.
For sure. Then I would recommend listening to sacred music of your favorite composers. For masses, Haydn has some delightful masses. For something massive (pun) I would go with Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
 

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João Domingos Bomtempo (Lisbon, December 28, 1775 -- Lisbon, August 18, 1842) was a Portuguese classical pianist, composer and pedagogue.

Work: Requiem in C-minor, Op.23 "À memória de Camões" (c.1818)

Highly recommended.
 
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